The Angels continued their 2014 bullpen makeover and emptied their top 10 prospect cupboard in the process, dealing their Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 8 prospects (according to our Midseason Prospect Update) to the Padres for closer Huston Street and the 2013 sixth-rounder Trevor Gott.
The acquisition of Street follows deals for relievers Joe Thatcher and Jason Grilli, as well as lefty Rich Hill, who was released and has moved on to the Yankees. Street will displace Joe Smith as the closer, according to reports. The Angels have the majors’ second-best record and chase the Athletics in the American League West, while holding a firm grip on the first wild-card spot.
In exchange, San Diego acquires second baseman Taylor Lindsey, the Angels’ No. 1 prospect; shortstop Jose Rondon (No. 2), righthanded reliever R.J. Alvarez (No. 4) and No. 8 prospect Elliot Morris, a righthander who might be best suited for relief work.
Taylor Lindsey, 2b
Lindsey ranked as Los Angeles’ top prospect entering the season and that didn’t change for the Midseason Update, which is available for purchase now. He’s been an effective hitter in the minors despite what evaluators believe is an unwieldy lefthanded stroke, in which he uses a pronounced step to trigger his swing. He controls the strike zone, walking more this season than he has in the past, and projects as a slightly above-average hitter and an average runner and fielder.
Jose Rondon, ss
The Padres likely scouted Rondon at this year’s Futures Game in Minneapolis. He went 0-for-2 in the exhibition. An athletic 16-year-old with a skinny frame when the Angels signed him for $70,000 in 2011, Rondon has added weight since but still draws 20 grades for power on the 20-80 scale. He’s a well-rounded player, if short on range at shortstop. He probably fits best at second base but is a sure-handed defender. He has a simple batting approach, one that focuses on making contact, and he was the fifth-toughest player to strike out in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2013.
R.J. Alvarez, rhp
Alvarez struggled as a starter at Florida Atlantic but took off as a reliever as a junior. His approach suits a bullpen role because of a high-effort delivery that some believe make him an injury risk, and in fact he missed six weeks with an elbow injury this season. The Angels worked to improve his direction to the plate in 2013. He pairs a fastball at 94-96 mph with a high-80s slider that flashes plus. He should make the quickest impact of any of the prospects the Padres received, provided he stays healthy.
Elliot Morris, rhp
Drafted out of Pierce (Wash.) JC, Morris has moved quickly in a system bereft of arms. He has a fastball that ranges from 93-96 mph and although he’s starting, he profiles as a reliever because of his other inconsistent offerings. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012.
Huston Street, rhp
Service time (preseason): 9.00. Has $7 million club option for 2015.
The Angels have remade their bullpen this season but still felt they needed a closer with bonafides and acquired Street. He has had a steady career since being drafted 40th overall by the Athletics in 2004, rarely dominating but consistently working the ninth inning since he was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2005. The former Texas closer is having his best season at age 30, thanks in part to a fluky 100 percent strand rate. An extreme flyball pitcher (42.5 percent groundballs), Street’s stuff will play in Anaheim, a pitcher’s park, and his walk rate remains low, which he has sustained throughout his career.
Trevor Gott, rhp
Kentucky’s single-season and career saves leader, Gott has a fastball that sits 92-94 mph, but he relies on deception rather than stuff and throws strikes consistently. He’s moved quickly, reaching Double-A in his first full pro season.